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Explaining Cross-National Differences in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Divorce in Europe, 1990-2000

Matthijs Kalmijn
Population Studies
Vol. 61, No. 3 (Nov., 2007), pp. 243-263
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27643427
Page Count: 21
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Explaining Cross-National Differences in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Divorce in Europe, 1990-2000
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Abstract

European countries differ considerably in their marriage patterns. The study presented in this paper describes these differences for the 1990s and attempts to explain them from a macro-level perspective. We find that different indicators of marriage (i.e., marriage rate, age at marriage, divorce rate, and prevalence of unmarried cohabitation) cannot be seen as indicators of an underlying concept such as the 'strength of marriage'. Multivariate ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analyses are estimated with countries as units and panel regression models are estimated in which annual time series for multiple countries are pooled. Using these models, we find that popular explanations of trends in the indicators—explanations that focus on gender roles, secularization, unemployment, and educational expansion—are also important for understanding differences among countries. We also find evidence for the role of historical continuity and societal disintegration in understanding cross-national differences.

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